Walking away is standing up for yourself

Regarding the Journey

Growth is incredibly uncomfortable, and so worth the effort.

If you’ve been reading my columns, over time you’ve come to know, when I face a new dilemma, I take a deep dive into available information. I need to sort it all out. Reading and listening to a wide variety of experts, laypeople, and professionals from a variety of fields tends to give me the broadest band of knowledge from which to draw my conclusions.

This quote from Tony Robbins bubbled up to the top of my research, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” Ironically, singer-songwriter Jelly Roll recently quoted this same piece of wisdom in a recent interview after winning multiple country music awards.

So that is exactly what I did when I was confronted with misleading and destructive behavior that caused me pain. I try to live an honest life, surrounded by people who also aim to live their lives well and true. Which doesn’t mean I don’t mess up. I do. We all do. However, I consistently try to correct behavior that doesn’t best serve others or myself and apologize when necessary.

For those of you who have experienced bullying, you’ll understand the feeling of helplessness I felt when the truth didn’t matter. Or perhaps truth is what matters most, and that’s exactly why the bully appears. They don’t deserve to take your power. Do not forfeit your soul to their poor behavior. Remember, self-respect, integrity, and truth matter.

Have you ever been at this type of crossroads in life? You’re going along merrily and, bam! Out of seemingly nowhere, you must make an unwelcome choice. A split-second before, it seemed you knew your life’s path. Now it is in question, and the future is unclear.

Sometimes fighting back is the answer. But we must be careful here. Reacting with poor behavior taints us. While a person may have done something bad to you, all your emotions and reactions are your own.

If we act out and get our revenge, we risk losing our honor and remove our innocence. Yet, we can’t simply turn the other cheek, either. We each only have two proverbial cheeks to turn. So, if that’s your solution, you’ll run out quickly.

Instead, what has worked for me, is to rise above, stand up straight, walk away, and know you have truth. As you read that, did the music in your head crescendo? A beam of light shine on you? Did a cape appear fastened around your neck, blowing in the breeze?

Well, it shouldn’t. Squeeze your eyes shut and shake that image out. You are no hero. You may stand solidly in truth, but you are not without some responsibility for the situation. What you are doing is hard, not heroic. It hurts. And it can twist you up for a long time.

For when you walk away, you carry all those feelings and memories with you. You must deal with that before you are consumed and unrecognizable.

Letting go of resentment, setting up some boundaries, and forgiving is critically important to affect personal growth and healing. It’s also super difficult. Facing hurt and deception brings about hard realities that we must face about ourselves if we want to live well in a world where reality shows are scripted.

Face your feelings. Name them. Confront the distress and pain. It’s exhausting, but will lead you to the place where you rebuild yourself. This is where you decide your next steps; where you begin realizing something must change for you to survive. Reclaim your power. Try to deepen your understanding of the situation and the people involved. By doing this, you may find yourself looking for ways to welcome forgiveness into your heart.

This process of building and improving oneself from upsetting situations helps us find meaning and reflect on our journey. After all, isn’t life about the journey?

Lesslee Dort, a native of Northeast Michigan, is drawn to the outdoors to restore balance. A boardcertified patient advocate, Lesslee firmly believes knowledge is power and learning is constant. She is always willing to help others help themselves. Reach Lesslee via email at regardingthejourney@lesslee.com. Read her here the third Thursday of each month.


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